Wednesday, August 13, 2008

With such a promising match vs the Netherlands...

The USA looked like it had a real chance going into today's last match of group play with Nigeria. The U.S. Men's Olympic Team fell, 2-1, to Nigeria in the final Group B match of the 2008 Olympic Games after defender Michael Orozco was sent off in the third minute. The result, combined with the Netherlands' 1-0 win against Japan, eliminates the U.S. from the tournament quarterfinals.

Brad Guzan, who had made many important saves during the tournament is seen above feeling the blow of defeat.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I am really impressed by Amy Rodriguez...

I just like the way this young woman plays. She has a real future. Congrats to the WNT in advancing to the Quarter Finals and for a very impressive team effort against New Zealand.

Monday, August 11, 2008

RAP and FIFA Elite Referees Program...

The RAP (FIFA Referees Assistance Program) has two key elements; Professionalizing Referee Administration at National Association levels and focus on the development of Elite Referees in the World with unified standards and training.

This morning, I had the good fortune to open the inaugural session of the Elite Referees Training Program. It was truly a pleasure to join with our new professional staff, enabled through funds of the FIFA RAP program, to bring together our top officials with our regional instructors and staff.

As a program first conceived in our Confederation 4 years ago, it gave us all a great sense of pride to be part of this launch at the Intercontinental Hotel West, in Doral, Florida.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

While in Miami... Duck

If you have never done a Duck Tour you are truly missing out on an unusual way to do a touristic activity. The first time Mary Lynn dragged me on to the amphibious vehicle was 4 years ago on a cold day in Boston. An actual street tour combined with the tour bus driving into the water and then being able to experience the sights from a different point of view.

While waiting for our Elite Referees course to kickoff tonight with an opening dinner, we decided to try the newly instituted Miami Duck Tour to see some of the sites of this city that I have been visiting for 50 years and where Mary Lynn was born, but both of us know, had changed so dramatically over the recent decades that it was worth another look.

So, while this may not parallel the aquatic events of the Beijing Olympics, it will clearly turn out to be 90 minutes of concentrated fun. We are reserved on the 2pm tour from South Beach, so we are heading over now. Have a great day.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blazer skips Beijing to work on Champions League...

The email below that I sent to FIFA President Sepp Blatter last night is self-explanatory. I wish our teams the best and will watch them in the middle of the night from New York and Miami.

Dear President:

Thank you for the invitation to the Olympic Games. I obtained the credentials for Mary Lynn and myself and had intended to arrive on 11 August in Beijing.

We have just finished two days of staff meetings in Miami as we are preparing for the CONCACAF Champions League, our new event to qualify our entry for the FIFA Club World Cup. It will kick off on 26 August, a mere 18 days from now.

What was clear during these meetings was that we still had much to do in final preparation of the matches, with 8 games being played each week and with our producing all the television for the entire competition. As you can imagine, the launch of this event and its success is all in the details. Given what remains to be done, I regret that I need to stay here and work with our team in final preparations.

I regret my inability to be present during the games and do appreciate the invitation to participate.

I will see you next month in Zurich.

Best regards,